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and budget saved can also be translated into meaningful financial savings for the organisation, releasing enough capital to buy some new equipment or to employ new members of staff.


Rather than simply relying on usage across the organisation, the Zeco Energy Manager solution breaks down energy use beyond the incoming main meter, highlighting where, when and how much energy is being consumed in specific areas of the organisation. The introduction of an easy-to-read dashboard interfaces presents this information in a meaningful way that can readily be acted upon to prevent energy waste from occurring. The software is based on a wireless mesh network, which means that it can enhance any existing building management system and enable portable monitoring beyond the main / sub-meter. Crucially, the software leverages and optimises the existing infrastructure, while the web-based technology, telemetry and open communication protocols it relies on essentially makes it a scalable ‘plug and play’ solution, similar to a smartphone or tablet app.

Zeco Energy Manager also provides users with remote visibility, meaning director or facilities manager can use a smartphone or tablet to find out their organisation’s energy costs while on the move. The fact that the system is based on a wireless mesh network means it can seamlessly transmit data between sensors, giving it the necessary functionality to control individual devices remotely. When combined with easy-to-fit energy management hardware, users can switch off areas of the business that are using energy such as lights and other equipment automatically outside of normal business hours, which can also be done remotely using the mobile application for the iPhone or iPad.


Energy management technology is especially compelling for organisations with buildings that generate annual energy costs of over £20,000, where savings of between 10 and 20 per cent on future bills can easily be made and a 12 to 18 month return on investment achieved. For some organisations, the immediate visibility that energy management software brings has shown to help highlight costly usage patterns that had previously gone unnoticed. Obvious areas for improvement are heating and

ventilation, lights, temperature control and equipment or lights being left on out of hours or when not in use. One office-based user I encountered had been heating their building at a constant 23 degrees both day and night – and at weekends. Simply by identifying that the building management system had been set incorrectly will reduce their future bill by 30 per cent. Similarly, by running its air conditioning system 24hrs a day, the energy management software showed a leisure-centre to be running at 50 per cent of its day time consumption during the night, without realising this could be reduced to just 15 per cent by ensuring, for example, that the air conditioning is only on when needed. Here too, the necessary changes will yield a decrease of 30 per cent on future bills. Advanced energy management technology really comes into its own when managing multiple sites. Previously, for instance, one public sector user who was responsible for managing energy across

65 schools had to either visit each site or obtain the relevant information from their energy bills. Now, he is able to access information about the best and worst performers while on the move. As a result, he can now concentrate his workload on specific schools and identify the particular areas requiring most attention. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the Zeco Energy Manager software is that it automatically generates easy-to-browse reports for all relevant line managers containing headline information and results. As such, while it doesn’t require a lot of input from the business or users, it will serve to highlight waste when it occurs, enabling the user to identify the necessary steps required to reduce it immediately.

This ability to act on waste, rather than identifying it retrospectively when the bill comes in, is especially fundamental to achieving measurable, long-term savings in the public sector.

Voltis proves cost-effective solution to energy saving


astings Borough Council is trialling a Voltis commercial voltage optimisation system to see it can help cut energy bills at small to medium sized council locations.

The council, which has an obligation to conserve energy wherever possible, selected Voltis for its cost-effectiveness and the fact that it is manufactured in Hastings.

One 63Amp Voltis unit has been installed in the basement at Johns Place Museum and Art Gallery in Hastings, which has an approximate total annual load of 53,000 kWh. All electrical circuits are powered by the unit, providing electricity for lighting, IT, air conditioning and other general power requirements. If the trial proves successful the council may consider installing Voltis in other smaller council locations. “We are eager to see what the unit is going to achieve,” said Michael Courtnage, Council Senior Building Surveyor. “The payback period is all important; rapid payback will enable us to make a business case for further installations.” Voltis is a ‘next generation’ logic- controlled ‘intelligent’ voltage optimiser that constantly monitors incoming voltage and power demand, adjusting itself to maximise potential savings. Unlike many

systems it also incorporates an in-built automatic bypass function that prevents power being cut to site by the optimiser should a problem occur with mains supply. The system is manufactured in the UK and offers many advantages over basic step down transformer technology, better matching power input with power demand to deliver higher savings. Voltis returns power/carbon savings of up to 20%. It will also reduce maximum demand levels, refine power quality by improving the balance across the phases on three phase supply, reduce harmonic distortion (this is particularly the case of three phase systems utilising single phase auto transformers), suppress transients and improve power factor correction.


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